The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses (V; 1-235), and depicts the fight between the followers of Perseus and Phineus at the feast of the former to Andromeda. Phineus - a disappointed suitor for Andromeda, and the brother of Andromeda's father, the King of Ethiopia - attacked Perseus, claiming the bride as his own. In the ensuing fight, most of Perseus' supporters were killed, forcing him to use the Medusa's head in self-defence, petrifying his enemies. Phineus is shown on the right, thrusting his lance at Perseus, centre.
The subject was treated in three other known works attributed to Francken (see U. Härting, Frans Francken der Jüngere, Freren, 1989, p. 339, nos. 342-344, all unseen), of which two depict the same moment of the story as the present picture. The closest in composition was that sold, Paris, Palais Galliéra, 30 May 1973, lot 16 (ibid., no. 343), in which there are clear similarities in the arrangement of the main protagonists, as well as the general design.